198. Could you give me concise examples and descriptions of how
one can implement the following outcomes in practice in the Early childhood setting: Plan
curriculum that is based on a thorough understanding of child development.
· Identify developmental milestones and variations in children.
· Utilize principles of curriculum development
· Plan and provide a curriculum and environment which are inclusive.
· Evaluate and revise curriculum when necessary to ensure all children's needs are met.
· Support the development and learning of individual children within the context of family, culture and society
You are asking me to provide examples of the PERFECT SCHOOL for EACH and EVERY and ALL students, the VERY BEST educational setting, the most extraordinary educational organization!!! You DO UNDERSTAND what schools should be like for ALL students.
Indeed, all the factors you name in your question should guide educational decisions today. Unfortunately, the most critical factor --a thorough understanding of child development-- is lacking today from most if not ALL educational decisions. We have decided (as of lately) that children are to perform as we say they must, and by whichever age or grade we arbitrarily decide. We allow little or no variations in development, unfortunately crushing the variations in learning patterns of children who are ahead in their development. While "No child should be left behind," those that can move ahead are fully constrained by the rigidity of the testing system and the accountability system that is based on testing.
Let us see if I can help you!!!
At ALL ages, but especially at the Early Childhood developmental period, SPEAKING is one of the most critical goals and it is a goal attainable by just about ALL humans in one form or another --through oral language, sign language, body language, gestures, and eventually through pointing to printed words or even by printing words. Also, research abundantly shows that children who become proficient speakers and who can tell and retell stories in detail, following appropriate sequence, and with an ample vocabulary, eventually become better readers than those children lacking in these language skills.
Thus, by choosing SPEAKING skills, we have chosen a developmentally appropriate goal
that allow as many possible variations in terms of the communication means through which
children can give evidence of mastering the goal --orally, hand signs, body language and
gestures, pointing to printed words, or printing words to "SPEAK." By
emphasizing speaking you have, then:
I. Demonstrated understanding of child development;
II. Provided a curriculum and environment that are inclusive;
III.Utilized principles of curriculum development since, according to Ralph Tyler, making decisions based on the needs
of the learners is crucial to sound curriculum.
The developmental milestones in the development of SPEAKING are well known: (1) sounds --if possible, (2) one-word-ideas or messages --verbally, through hand signals, gestures, body language, etc., (3) additional words added to messages thus beginning a simple conversation, (4) short-to-longer sentences with some incorrect items in terms of sounds or phonology, morphology, syntax, word usage, etc., (5) fluency with less and less incorrect items, and finally (6) life-long vocabulary development. The functions of language (in all its forms) are many, and you could select specific functions relevant to the Early Childhood level: (1) knowing one's full name, address, phone number; knowing the names of the members of immediate family; (2) knowing family relationships and the relationships among groups of people; (3) asking questions about others' families and group membership; (4) naming objects in their immediate surroundings and the purpose(s) or the action(s) to be performed with these objects; (5) body parts and their functions; etc., etc., etc.
The list is inmense thus, you can provide for variations in children while meeting the developmental needs of individual children and ALL children. Since SPEAKING can and is practiced at school and at home, within all cultural groups and in all societies, you can support the language development of the children by helping the childrens' parents develop SPEAKING (1) at home, in the primary language of each child, as needed, and (2) in school in a second language for ALL children. These speaking goals --for the school setting and the home-- are part of sound curriculum development since you are also considering the society and well as the culture and subcultures within that society in terms of speaking and in terms of the many functions of speaking that you may choose.
You can easily evaluate SPEAKING and the development of speaking skills and functions without the need of a formal test. Such evaluation can literally be constant since by emphasizing SPEAKING you are taking care of all human interactions and all instances of interpersonal communication. "Testing" or evaluation can occur informally within the context of EACH human interaction, and, based on those observations, instructional opportunities can be designed to constantly meet the needs of children.
You will find in my Web Sites a complete description of an Early Childhood (Head Start) Program. This program is used in some counties in North Carolina. Because MOST of the children in a Head Start program --in Duplin County, one county in which I train teachers in North Carolina-- are non- or limited-English speakers, and ALL of the children are poor (and need incredible amounts of vocabulary development to eradicate their language deficits in their primary language --English for some-- and meet their language development needs --in English-As-A-Second-Language and in the primary language for ALL--) I worked with the teachers modifying and defining the instructional tasks to provide for the language acquisition and development that needed to take place BEFORE the program lessons could be implemented.
On very few occasions I have seen instructional programs for this level (Early Childhood) that TEACH and provide opportunities specifically for language acquisition and development BEFORE specific concepts are introduced, presented and mastered.
I hope I have answered your question --your extraordinary question-- in the concise and descriptive manner in which you hoped it would be answered.
For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:
1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading
Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)
Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.
For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:
CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK, Ph.D.
Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)
3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406
Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605